Books: Genuine Magic

GREENSTONE by Sylvia Ashton-Warner. 217 pages. Simon & Schuster. $4.50.

Nothing is more boring and embarrassing than an amateur conjurer. Magic must be perfect; real rabbits must emerge from the trick hat. The reader, noting that Sylvia Ashton-Warner's novel is dedicated to a river (New Zealand's Whanganui), that among the chief characters are 13 darling children, most of them under one tin roof, and that various Maori gods and spirits are freely invoked, may suspect that he is being conjured into accepting a crock of anthropological whimsy. Not so; the magic here is real.

Greenstone is a story of two races—the Polynesian Maori,...

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